What’s in A Name? Why You Should Use A Trademark Lawyer
A trademark is one of the most valuable assets for your business, as it is how your customers identify you, your product or service, and the reputation of your company. Trademarks draw in your customers online through social media and advertising, digital or otherwise. In short, your marks are everything for your business in the marketplace. Have you considered consulting a trademark lawyer to protect your business?
As trademark lawyers, we work with clients on these matters every day. Our work includes screening desired business names for availability and use. In addition, we screen and provide clearance of contemplated trademarks for the products and services of our clients. Trademarks can consist of words, logos, designs and/or stylized features. Among the most common questions that our clients ask us are “when should I engage a lawyer to screen and evaluate my business name for use as a trademark” or “when should I engage a lawyer to assist me in identifying and selecting a mark for use in connection with a product or service?”
The short answer is – the ideal time to engage your trademark lawyer is before you adopt and start using a business name or trademark in commerce and before you start promoting or marketing your company and/or its products and services.
Trademark screening and clearance are critical priorities for every business owner. When possible, you should have trademarks screened and cleared before forming a business, in the case of using a business name as a company’s flagship trademark, and before introducing a new product or service into commerce.
Trademark clearance is a straightforward process that can be quick and cost-effective. A good trademark lawyer can conduct a trademark clearance investigation very quickly, in most cases within a day or two. There are two important reasons to engage counsel to conduct a trademark clearance investigation before you name your company or brand your products/services.
First, you need to know whether your business will encounter any legal obstacle to using a name or mark in commerce. There is nothing more frustrating – or expensive – than having to change your business name shortly after your “Grand Opening.” And, that happens more often than you might think. The fact that you or your attorney were able to form a business entity with a specific name in Texas or elsewhere is not a guarantee that you can use that business name in commerce as your brand. This is a fundamental trap for the unwary and a mistake made by many business owners and lawyers unfamiliar with (or otherwise inattentive to) intellectual property issues.
Changing a business name near the launch of your new company can be disastrous to your budget and may tarnish the reputation of a new business. This can delay or halt a successful business launch by days or weeks, depending on the length of time that it takes you to change your name, your signage, your business cards, all of your marketing and advertising, your website, your domain names, your social media sites, logos and so forth. Similarly, when launching a new product or service, a business owner is well served by engaging counsel to conduct a trademark clearance search long before planning a launch.
Second, a business owner needs to know whether it is feasible to obtain federal trademark registration for their business name or other trademarks. Trademark registration is critical in the digital world due to social media and online interactions. Without federal trademark registration, your business name and trademarks are at risk. Federal trademark registration is a powerful deterrent to third-party misappropriation and infringement of your brands. Federal trademark registration arms you with a powerful arsenal of tools to protect your branding, such as:
- Powerful rights and remedies to protect your company from trademark infringement
- Protection against unfair competition and dilution
- A heightened ability to contest confusingly similar domain names (in appropriate circumstances)
- A litany of tools for your business to remove third-party infringers online
- A strong position from which to challenge and contest third parties on social media platforms that may adopt your trademarks and use them in a manner that is detrimental to your business and your marketing plans
Protect Your Business with the Assistance of a Trademark Lawyer
For those ready to launch a new business, product or service, or if you wish to ensure that your company has done everything possible to protect your marks, now is the time to engage a lawyer to assess your legal trademark rights and provide guidance on how to protect your trademarks in the future. Contact us today for a free consultation about your trademark matters and how you can best protect one of your company’s most valuable assets.
The lawyers of Musgrove Law Firm, P.C. are available to assist our clients with complex business; federal, state, and local income tax 2022; Mergers & Acquisitions; intellectual property; and real estate and estate planning matters among our specialties. Our goal is to be not only excellent lawyers but true business partners with our valued clients. Contact us today to schedule a consultation regarding your business and tax matters.